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Jun 12

The return of the Sugar Bloc

From Barons, Brokers, and Buyers: The Institutions and Cultures of Philippine Sugar , as originally quoted in this entry of mine from 2006, Planters and millers:

…Many in the sugar industry persist in the belief that they are among the most powerful political forces in the nation. But those with real power consider that claim laughable in today’s Philippine sugar economy. More political capital can be gained from disparaging the “sugar barons” than from advancing their interests.

And yet, in their efforts to portray the Philippines as a neo-colonized, exploited, and “feudal” cog on the periphery of the global world capitalist system, many Philippine scholars have missed or understated this important trend… scholars have conveyed the impression that the old rural oligarchs have preserved their preeminence in unabated form, or at least that all Philippine elites are pretty much alike in how they relate to the state. Journalistic accounts… are even more stark in their portrayals. For them the Philippines is a “changeless land” and a “land of broken promises,” dominated by fabulously rich rural elites able to direct political life unfettered by competition from other elites with other values and unconcerned with the greater national good…

I am not claiming that those perspectives are entirely mistaken, only that today’s Philippine reality is far more complex. Where rural elite families have managed to maintain their status and power, they have done so by adapting to radically different circumstances, by making new alliances, and by using their wealth and influence to pursue different strategies of gain. Those oligarchic families who have clung to the older methods of wielding influence have largely ceded ground to the nouveau riche. Most important, urban businessmen and financial wizards have increasingly become the dominant reference groups for ambitious young people. One would be hard-pressed today -even in Negros- to find a young member of a planter family who would admit to aspiring to a life of rural leisure and inherited “success”…

Although patrimonial capitalism endures in the Philippines, I argue that the shift from landlord dominance to the dominance of urban businessmen is critically important as a harbinger of future change in politics, economy, and culture. While it may appear at first that all Philippine elites are alike, that elites from different sectors pursue different strategies of domination and advocate different sorts of policies has consequential implications.

Many on the Philippine left see signs that the next “ruling class” will consist of former peasants or proletariat. But it seems far more plausible, given current trends, that what is evolving is the more typical historical progression: replacement of an old elite class by a newer one with different interests and sources of power, even though many of the individuals and families are the same. Despite the many works decrying the static composition of Philippine elites, and the bipolarity of Philippine society, I argue that this shift is affording an unprecedented amount of upward mobility and the rapid growth of a Filipino “middle class.”

That historic progression is still taking place, but let me put forward a portion of Benedict Anderson’s 1988 essay, Cacique Democracy in the Philippines: Origins and Dreams:

Immensely confident of Anglo-Saxon world hegemony and the place of English as the language of capitalism and modernity, the colonial regime effortlessly extruded Spanish and so expanded an English-language school system that by 1940the Philippines had the highest literacy rate in Southeast Asia. After independence, the oligarchy, like other Third World oligarchies, found that the simplest way of establishing its nationalist credentials was to expand cheap schooling. By the early 1960s university degrees were no longer a ruling class near-monopoly.

The huge expansion of English-language education produced three distinct, politically significant, new social groups. Smallest was a radical intelligentsia, largely of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois urban origins, and typically graduates of the University of the Philippines. Among them was Nur Misuari, who in the later 1960s formed the Moro National Liberation Front in the Muslim southwest. Still better known was José Maria Sison, who broke away from the decrepit post-Huk Communist party to form his own, and, borrowing from the Great Helmsman, founded the New People’s Army which is today a nation-wide presence and the major antagonist of the oligarchy. (The spread of English, and, later, of ‘street Tagalog’, in nationalist response to American hegemony, has made possible an archipelago-wide popular communication – below the oligarchy – that was inconceivable in the era of Bonifacio or the Hukbalahap.)

Next largest in size was a bien-pensant proto-technocracy, which also included graduates from American universities. Drawn from much the same social strata as the radical intelligentsia, it was enraged less by the injustices of cacique democracy than by its dilettantism, venality, and technological backwardness. This group also deeply resented its own powerlessness. When Marcos eventually declared Martial Law in 1972 and proclaimed his New Democracy, it flocked to his standard, believing its historic moment had come. It stayed loyal to him till the early 1980s, and long remained crucial to his credibility with Washington planners, the World Bank and the IMF, and foreign modernizers all and sundry.

Largest of all – if not that large – was a wider urban bourgeois and petty bourgeois constituency: middle-level civil servants, doctors, nurses, teachers, businessmen, shopkeepers, and so on. In its political and moral outlook it can perhaps be compared with the Progressives (definitely not the Populists) of the United States in the period 1890–1920. In the 1960s it made its political debut in campaigns for honesty-in-government, urban renewal, crackdowns on machine and warlord politics, and the legal emancipation of municipalities and the new suburbs. As might be expected, this group was both anti-oligarchy and anti-popular in orientation. Had it not been English-educated, and had not President Kennedy secured a major change in the American immigration laws, it might have played a major role in Philippine politics in the 1970s and 1980s. But these factors offered it enticing alternatives, such that, by the mid-1980s, well over a million Filipinos (mainly from this stratum) had emigrated across the Pacific, most of them for good. This bourgeois haemorrhage in the short run weakened a significant political competitor for the oligarchy, but in the longer run cost it an important political ally – one reason why the Aquino government has so little room for manoeuvre.

The Marcos regime, which began to entrench itself long before the declaration of Martial Law in 1972, was an instructively complex hybrid. From one point of view, Don Ferdinand can be seen as the Master Cacique or Master Warlord, in that he pushed the destructive logic of the old order to its natural conclusion. In place of dozens of privatized ‘security guards’, a single privatized National Constabulary; in place of personal armies, a personal Army; instead of pliable local judges, a client Supreme Court; instead of a myriad pocket and rotten boroughs, a pocket or rotten country, managed by cronies, hitmen, and flunkies. But from another viewpoint, he was an original; partly because he was highly intelligent, partly because, like his grotesque wife, he came from the lower fringes of the oligarchy. In any case, he was the first elite Filipino politician who saw the possibilities of reversing the traditional flow of power. All his predecessors had lived out the genealogy of mestizo supremacy – from private wealth to state power, from provincial bossism to national hegemony. But almost from the beginning of his presidency in 1965, Marcos had moved mentally out of the nineteenth century, and understood that in our time wealth serves power, and that the key card is the state. Manila’s Louis Napoleon.

In this extract he points to the origins of the middle class and a factor missed out, above: that the reformist middle class was gutted when American emigration laws were liberalized. Anderson thinks it took place in the 1960s-1970s; it may be that the initial decimation took place, then; but a large enough chunk remained to matter in 1986; but as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, since the 1980s, it was further decimated in the 1990s to date; and what’s left has clung more and more ferociously to the Old Guard as it tries to forestall losing power in the face of a population which has reaped the failures of the Old Guard but refused, or been unable, to exact its pound of flesh -because it can go overseas like the middle class has been doing since the 1960s…

But whether or not you subscribe to Billig’s view that the old provincial nabobs have given way to a new class of merchants and managers, or to Anderson’s (earlier) views, or even my assertion that the old middle and upper classes have been decimated but have managed to retard the rise of a replacement class culturally divorced from them, the process of evolution of not outright reform, at least in one respect, seems to have stalled.

Back in 2006, apropos the stalled peace process, I blogged about an observation made by Paulynn Paredes Sicam:

She observed that the past twenty years has seen the disappearance of a “peace constituency” and that the urgent task at hand is to rebuild one. To this end, she appealed to the media to devote attention to peace developments, and to bear in mind that sensationalistic, or utterly cynical reportage can have a tremendously harmful effect on the prospects of peace, and be quite damaging to peace prospects in particular localities. She also said t[h]ere are many inspiring stories that are never reported or superficially reported: cases where communities rise up, and basically tell both government and rebel troops to get the hell out and leave them in peace -and then, maintain that peace.

As it is for human rights, so it is for almost everything else: the disappearance of so many constituencies formerly so vibrant and even powerful.

Add to this list the obvious weakening of the land reform constituency. The best it could muster was a kind of kamikaze mission the other night: Commotion erupts at House of Representatives.

To be sure, land reform hasn’t been a major priority of the present administration. There has been the usual speechifying in favor of it, but the President certainly hasn’t gone for broke in terms of spending political (or any other kind of) capital to accomplish it. See Land redistribution slowest under Arroyo presidency. But neither Aquino (who herself came from a landed family) nor Ramos (who did not), actually targeted the big estates. Both administrations redistributed more middle class land and then public land, than actually breaking up the big estates -and only those big estates of families willing to give up their lands, and not the richest and most valuable estates whose owners actively resisted land reform.

The other day, in his blog, Rep. Ruffy Biazon pointed out the administration at the very least, went through the motions of corralling support to put the renewal of CARP over the top:

In fact, aside from the certification which is an official act, more personal efforts were taken to ensure the cooperation of congressmen. Last Tuesday, the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office individually reminded congressmen to attend sessions and stay until its passage. Likewise, the Office of Speaker Prospero Nograles sent text messages to the Members of the House, urging them to be present during session and not leave until debates are concluded and a vote is taken.

It is not the first time that such persuasion was used on congressmen. The Anti-Terror Bill, the R-VAT Bill, and many others were passed with the same kind of prodding from the Office of the President and the Office of the Speaker of the House. While other bills languish in suspended animation, there bills which enjoy the active support of the leadership, to which members of the majority are all too willing to accommodate.

But there was a palpable lack of enthusiasm among administration allies. Biazon says that if the previous Speaker fell, among other reasons, for failing to muster quorums, then it bodes ill for the new Speaker that he doesn’t seem to be doing much better:

So with the President’s certification of the bill and the leadership change still fresh in the House, it was expected that the CARP extension bill would not encounter difficulties in passing. Although debates have been going on for almost three weeks owing to some lengthy interpellations by a few congressmen, it seemed that yesterday was going to be the last day for debates. There were several congressmen lined up to ask questions, including myself, but the intention was to go overtime if needed, just so that the bill would come to a vote.

We have also done that many times, conducting marathon sessions stretching one day to the next, just to give everyone an opportunity to ask questions and yet have the bill voted on as soon as possible.

At first it seemed that the congressmen were going to maintain the pace and close the deliberation of the bill and finally vote. But as the night wore on and the debates became longer, the numbers began thinning. At around 8:00 PM, one congressman from the administration coalition suddenly stood up and questioned the quorum.

It was obvious then that there were not enough numbers of congressmen in session. The proceedings were suspended and the quorum bell rang, calling all congressmen to proceed to the hall. Proponents of the bill tried to convince the member who questioned the quorum to reconsider his position. But he stood firm, and eventually the session had to be adjourned.

And as subsequent events have shown, it has to be asked, just how genuinely, did the administration bat for the House giving CARP a lease on life?

The Inquirer reports House defers vote on CARP extension bill: But resolution extending LAD until December OKd, and some rather peculiar suspicions on the part of at least one frustrated member of the House:

Akbayan party-list Representative Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, one of the principal authors, however, said that the “landlords” in “collusion with leftist solons” from the Bayan bloc were out to block the passage of the bill, or water it down.

The fate of the proposed legislation hangs in the Senate because the senators are bucking its approval until the DAR submits a full accounting of the CARP funds for the past 20 years.

“There’s no CARP without the Senate… There can be no law without the Senate,” Nograles said.

Now the point isn’t whether some sort of unholy alliance is at work, but rather, we are facing the revival of a political force long thought extinct since the days of Martial Law: the Sugar Bloc. You can read, entirely free, on-line, John A. Larkin’s Sugar and the Origins of Modern Philippine Society:

In the end, sugar created a native elite, prestigious and powerful who, despite their disparate provincial origins, acted together with the collusion of foreigners to shape the course of Philippine modernization. For more than a century and a half, sugar represented the most important and influential sector of an insular commercial life that this elite, with rare exception, exploited almost exclusively for their personal advancement. Their conspicuous consumption contributed not so much to the progress of the islands as to the outflow of cash and to the inequitable colonial economy. Among sugar workers the maldistribution of profits created not a consuming public but permanent pockets of poverty, and attempts to ameliorate their circumstances came mostly to naught.

But even the book’s snapshot, of moribund sugar mills, of limited successes for cooperatives, has changed:

The post-Marcos era has commenced in the Philippines, and Nasutra has gone the way of other martial law aberrations; however, world economic conditions have prevented significant recovery for the industry. The U.S. market, too, promises to remain a finite one for Philippine sugar, given pressure from America’s own sugar producers, the demands of its other offshore suppliers, and the fact that its biggest food producers, including large bottlers Pepsi and Coca-Cola, now increasingly use corn sweetener in their products. Even if future Philippine sugarmen improve their productivity, they will have to depend for their livelihood on insular consumption and limited exports. The World. Bank reports the industry’s export earnings for the present as “stagnant,” and there seems little prospect of revival.

The book was written before the expansion of regional economies, and of ethanol and the modernization of the industry: the creation of a New Sugar Bloc.

The New Sugar Bloc has some of the old (though still fairly new, in that they’re Marcos-era) faces of the Old Sugar Monopoly of the New Society, but in its behavior it’s more like the pre-martial law Sugar Bloc in that it has strategically, and effectively, managed its bloc in Congress regardless of what the chief executive wants (or in collusion with the Palace, which is a possibility, too). And triumphant, too: in Negros (Bacolod, for example), the reformist clergy I met are no longer young; and the priests and future bishops who will replace them, no longer imbued with the same focus on Social Justice.

188 comments

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  1. UP n student

    d0d0ng: On paying taxes to Pinas. If you believe that 95-centavos of every peso-tax that you pay to Pinas goes to corruption, then you should not pay taxes. If you believe that more than 50% of the taxes that you pay to Pinas goes to pay for teachers, highway- and port-maintenance, airline and ship-security, then you should think of paying taxes.

    If it is okay to you that the tax-money you pay benefits people whose you will never hear of because they are just too poor, then you should think of paying taxes.

  2. UP n student

    …whose names you will never know…

  3. leytenian

    taxing the OFW is not our current policy. US and Philippines have double taxation agreement relief. we can discuss about anytime but it will not work unless the policy is reversed. Reversing may hurt our economy even more.
    I think i have repeated myself why…

  4. d0d0ng

    UP n student on, “If you believe that 95-centavos of every peso-tax that you pay to Pinas goes to corruption, then you should not pay taxes. ”

    Too late for that. Like others, I am happy to pay income tax to my adopted country where my family and I are the beneficiary. Hardly can I say the same thing when I used to pay Philippine income tax. It was such a waste like the mothballed Bataan nuclear plant…haha… you knew what I mean.

  5. d0d0ng

    UP n student on, “If it is okay to you that the tax-money you pay benefits people whose you will never hear of because they are just too poor, then you should think of paying taxes.”

    I heard the same pity-appeal on taxes from the government officials why the country is spending on failed government pro-poor programs namely agrarian reform, education, etc… and yet high government officials living in their mansions and riding in their expensive cars courtesy of hard-earned taxes have shown no signs of changing their luxurious lifestyles even just to show a little respect to the poor Filipinos they swear to serve. It is rotten.

  6. d0d0ng

    UP n student on, “…whose names you will never know…”

    Yes, Filipinos knew but just playing deaf and blind. Let us start with the President of this country. Since her election to the Senate, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s net worth has increased more than tenfold, or from P6.7 million in 1992 to P100 million in 2007, according to statements of assets and liabilities she has been filing with the Ombudsman. That is only the declared portion and excluding her sons and relatives who are in the payroll of the government. Sweet.

  7. UP n student

    d0d0ng: if you already are a citizen of somewhere-else, or headed for citizenship for another country, then you are done with Pinas when you declare you are done with Pinas. In your adopted country, portion of your tax money will go to people whose names you will never know.

  8. leytenian

    Up N student…
    “In your adopted country, portion of your tax money will go to people whose names you will never know.”
    hahaha. this is hilarious… i agree with you…

  9. KG

    Leytenian,

    binalikan ko tong blog entry na ito, na extend pala ng konti yung paying taxes.

    at me nalaman na naman ako blooper sa sinabi ko.

    edit adaptive to adopted

    tulad nga ng sinabi mo, life is too short for editing.hehe

  10. KG

    Leytenian,
    national id:

    remember what i said about data mining, the data is mine not yours.

    maganda sana tulad sa tate social security lang ang ginagamit.

    dito di tayo fully wired. me nagbalak nga iwire ang pilipinas kaya lang ang problema the 95 centavos for every peso goes to.(per question of UPN)

    tapos mas organized pa systema ng mga lopezes kesa sa BIR natin literally, kaya kaya nila mag estimate ng income based on electric consumption (acknowledgement to hvrds)

    dito hiwalay gsis at sss it would indeed be a nightmare kung isang number lang tayo,maybe within our lifetimes this will happen pero marami pang gusot na aayusin to avoid the chicken and the egg questions.

  11. d0d0ng

    UP n student on, “In your adopted country, portion of your tax money will go to people whose names you will never know.”

    Leytenian on, “hahaha. this is hilarious… i agree with you…”

    This is where the rubber meets the road. You can only imagine while I am the beneficiary of good governance of my adoptive country which I can certainly savor with pleasure. Huge difference in that and I will tell you why.

    1. I had major surgery that could have cost selling of all properties back in the Philippines. Instead, all expenses are paid by insurance courtesy of my company.

    2. Due to the latest robotics Da Vinci technology in State funded University hospital, I was out the hospital in one week with minimal discomfort and get to my usual lifestyle like jogging, as if the surgery was just a blip. In traditional surgery I would have been confined in the hospital for two months and series of post operation follow ups.

    3. And here is the kicker, the state gave me $2,000 biweekly compensation until you tell them to stop. With honesty, I return the checks and told the state to stop since my company continued to pay my full salary that could have resulted in overpayment. I also told the company of the overpayment which in return provided me laptop to work from home.

    My tax money going to people I never knew? I just smile as I can swim in the pool and work with comfort. My tax money definitely works as far as I am concerned.

  12. d0d0ng

    UP n student on, “then you are done with Pinas when you declare you are done with Pinas.”

    I still send my neices back in the Philippines to school. It is very straightforward, I spend the money to produce results. I just don’t want to subsidize the corruption cost of Filipino leaders, if you misunderstood me.

  13. Bencard

    these people who make personal benefit and satisfaction as a precondition to paying taxes do not understand the true value and responsibility of citizenship. evading taxes on the vague excuse that there is “corruption” in the government is the mother of all cop-outs. if that was a valid justification, then everyone could get away with tax evasion because a never-ending chain of unsubstantiated charges of corruption were being made in the halls of the legislature, the media, the church and even in state-funded schools.

    what state can exist without taxes? what can you expect from a government that has no revenue to run it? how can one live in an organized society without paying dues?

    every time a tax evader succeeds, his law abiding neighbor suffers the need to take up the slack created by the deadbeat. that is because the business of government must go on, safeguard health and national security and safety, preserve and maintain law and order, build and repair infrastructure, help citizens in coping with disasters, etc., etc.

  14. grd

    leytenian,

    thanks for the clarification. i stand corrected and hats-off to you. i maybe quick to react and passionate on something i’m not in agreement with but i do recognize a commendable act and i believe you’re doing a great service to the country with your philanthropic efforts. i always believe in the saying, to whom much is given, much is expected.”

    on the other hand, this obvious feeling of negativity concerning the country’s current state, let me quote this one, “Life is a matter of perspective, either you complain because roses have thorns or you rejoice because thorns have roses. “ it all depends on how you look at it. i’m not loosing hope.

  15. leytenian

    GRD,
    i won’t be on this blog if I don’t care. I have high HOPES. I can relate to you..

  16. d0d0ng

    Bencard on, “evading taxes on the vague excuse that there is “corruption” in the government is the mother of all cop-outs.”

    Plain wage earners get their take home pay with taxes already deducted. You must be talking of business entities who can manipulate taxes. Anyway tax evaders are criminals and in fact they are prosecuted.

    But if you mean of the opportunity of an OFW to become a citizen of another country (along with tax responsibility), then it his/her own personal choice. You don’t want to spend your hard earned money on rotten tomatoes or a lemon car.

  17. d0d0ng

    Bencard on, “these people who make personal benefit and satisfaction as a precondition to paying taxes do not understand the true value and responsibility of citizenship.”

    As if the Filipinos have the choices who will be spending their taxes. At the unlucky strings of Filipino leaders who are also looters (Marcos with Swiss billions, Estrada with plunder, Arroyo with P33 billion Agrarian reform fund from Swiss court), who can blame the Filipinos to become citizen of another country?

    Be realistic, Filipinos are leaving in droves even if the small country is very far from the US mainland, Europe and Middle East. Just think if Philippines is next to the US or Canada. I just don’t know who would choose to stay other than the old folks.

  18. Bencard

    dodong, aliens don’t become naturalized citizens of other countries just because they want to. they have to qualify. criminals and subversives usually are disqualified. with your kind of philosophy (vis a vis paying taxes) i doubt whether any country would want to take you in. certainly not the law-abiding citizens who believe paying taxes is a duty from which they will not shirk on the alleged ground that the money is being misused.

    here in the u.s., there is an infinitesimal ratio of citizens who are swayed by the libertarian, anti-war rhetorics that their tax dollars are being wasted in an “unjust” war. i still have to see a significant number of cases of non-payment of taxes on that ground.

    i don’t think filipinos leave just to avoid paying philippine taxes. they leave primarily because they want to get better employment and make more money.

  19. d0d0ng

    Bencard on, “i don’t think filipinos leave just to avoid paying philippine taxes. they leave primarily because they want to get better employment and make more money.”

    Exactly. Get better employment and make more money. And when I met the requirements, I applied for citizenship and paid my taxes to my adopted country. As I said earlier (if you care to read above) I am happy where I paid my taxes today in the US than when I was in the Philippines.

    If you try to poll the readers where they want to pay taxes assuming they have the option, you will find favorability factor tilted to the US.

  20. Bencard

    thanks to people like you, the country is going to the dogs, if it’s not there already. i don’t have to “poll” them. the result is there to see. i hope you don’t have any more relatives in pinas or, if you have, you don’t care about them.

  21. Bencard

    btw, may be philippines is fortunate to get rid of you – one less free-loader who despise paying taxes to it. but don’t forget, your nieces are still there and benefiting from whatever the country has to offer.

  22. grd

    dOdOng on, “Why should any hardworking OFWs pay income tax to Pinas who:

    1. cannot provide any opportunity (hence, OFWs went abroad).”

    as explained by UPn, lower-income OFW’s pay zero tax to Pinas, while only those who have been better blessed OFW’s will have to pay income tax.

    I don’t think it’s due to lack of opportunity why people like Doc Bautista, CVJ, Dodong, Leytenian, etc. went abroad. I believe going out for them is a matter of choice and not due to lack of opportunity in Pinas. I have a friend, a lawyer by profession, he’s earning quite well and already living comfortably in Pinas. yet, he chose to go out (migrate) together with his family (and I was told by friends the wife was not so happy on leaving). anyway, he left his lucrative job, studied nursing and now working as a nurse. I thought it was a stupid move but he has his own reasons and he made his choice.

    on the other hand, I happened to meet in our area, NGO workers (my wife used to head one group) even attended their activities and interactions w/ other groups. those people are hardworking too but with their meager salaries (or allowances) I never hear them complain about their situation or lamented about the lack of opportunity. what I saw was a picture of happy dedicated people serving their less fortunate countrymen (may it be christians, muslims or the natives) even if they are scrambling for funds. there’s the volunteers also like the doctors and nurses, social workers and of course the nuns and the priests who are as active always whenever they go on medical missions to remote areas and sometimes dangerous places. i understand it’s a calling but those people never cease to amaze me with their unselfish act. imagine, if they stop caring and follow your logic that it’s the govt’s responsibility to take care of the poor and since the govt is corrupt why should they care? life is really a matter of perspective.

    on, ”2. milking the OFWs before it can earn its 1st dollar by imposing higher travel tax on OFWs than the foreigners using the same airport.”

    higher travel tax you mean the P500 travelers have to pay at the airport? what I know, OFW’s are exempted from paying the travel tax. all they have to do is get an OEC in POEA and upon departure, just present their OEC’s at the counter. it’s simple really, no OEC then you pay the travel tax. also, as far as I know, this P500 fee is the same whether you’re a foreigner or a pinoy tourist.

    on, “3. spend one of its largest budget on military that did not serve the majority population who are sinking into poverty year by year.”

    it’s been that way since time immemorial. people specially those directly affected want it to stop too and have a lasting peace. but you just said it, majority of the population is sinking into poverty year by year. don’t you think it’s best to be part of the solution rather than stop caring and blame it all to the govt? again, let me repeat what i quoted above, “to whom much is given, much is expected.”

  23. d0d0ng

    Bencard on, “thanks to people like you, the country is going to the dogs”

    The fact is the country is going to the dogs.

  24. d0d0ng

    grd on, “to whom much is given, much is expected.”

    You mean accountability. You should ask your president maybe she can give you an answer.

  25. d0d0ng

    bencard on, “i hope you don’t have any more relatives in pinas or, if you have, you don’t care about them.”

    I have a lot of relatives. They too are getting out and I am helping them. For the meantime, like you I send balikbayan boxes.

  26. d0d0ng

    bencard on, “philippines is fortunate to get rid of you – one less free-loader who despise paying taxes to it. but don’t forget, your nieces are still there and benefiting from whatever the country has to offer”

    Working hard in the Philippines before and paying taxes is hardly a freeloader. Freeloader are politicians who are spending my taxes like their personal ATMs. Example our governor had 7 houses including 3 mansions along the beach with one housing a catholic shrine inside his beach property.

    My neices benefitting from what? Potholled roads, on-and-off supply of water, ocassional brownouts and toxic public sewers.

    Philippines fortunate to get rid of me? Hardly, besides the leaders (like our provincial governor) are busy in their tongpats business. Anyway, I feel most fortunate to get out of the Philippines.

  27. Bencard

    dodong, if you ask me, your governor deserves to be prosecuted, and if found guilty, jailed and banned from holding any public office. but that doesn’t excuse citizens in your province from paying taxes. at least, your nieces and other relatives have a place to call their “homeland”, potholes and all. and since you are still a foreigner in your “adopted land”, where do you think you would be deported if you get convicted of a felony there?

  28. d0d0ng

    The governor just feeds from the crumbs off the president’s table. The mastermind surely deserves your prescription for the governor. Foreigner? Doubt any country to take me in? Not anymore. In your adopted country professional skills are valued and rewarded with citizenship. Hence, cannot be deported.

  29. Bencard

    dodong,

    so you think your governor is immune because he is just feeding off the “crumbs”, huh? your sense of logic is amazing!

    if you are still an immigrant, try committing an aggravated felony, e.g. drug trafficking or weapons possession, and see if your “professional skills” can save you from deportation. btw, even a grant of citizenship can be revoked if procured through misrepresentation, e.g., failure to disclose a disqualification, such as being a subversive or terrorist.

  30. grd

    dOdOng if you find corruption and incompetence in your adopted country. will you stop paying taxes there too?

    you talk a lot about accountability in the phils, whatabout in your adopted country, are you demanding accountability from your govt too? from previous admin budget surplus of USD128 billions in 2001, budget deficit for 2008 is projected at USD 400 billions. part of the taxes you pay go to Iraq. are you protesting your govt actions too? did you ask your president too? a big slice of your adopted country’s budget goes to the military, right?

    anyway, i’m glad too you’re out of the phils. i think people like you are not really needed in the country. you’re a vexation to the spirit . so, good riddance.

  31. benj

    dodong on, ‘if Phil is next to US or Canada, i just don’t know who would choose to stay other than the old folks.”

    your statement is quite appalling. pessimism has definitely clouded your sense of balance and impartiality. not majority of Filipinos share your selfish,self-centered perspectives. Those of us who prefer to stay in the Phil find comfort and satisfaction being in our native land helping the economically disadvantaged fellow Filipinos. the inefficiencies of the govt do not deter us from exercising our social obligations which apparently not in your dictionary.

  32. grd

    well said benj.

  33. TheColdKing

    I KNEW IT, WE REALLY DO NEED TO ACTUALLY DECIMATE THE FEUDAL LANDLORDS TO BE ABLE TO TRULY PROGRESS, MY IDEA OF A BLOODY VIOLENT NATIONAL REVOLUTION BY THE MASSES ALA THE FRENCH, THE RUSSIANS, AND THE CAMBODIANS WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG. WE SHOULD IMPLEMENT A YEAR ZERO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

  34. d0d0ng

    Bencard on, “try committing an aggravated felony”.

    Your sense of logic is amazing, just do the felony yourselves and prove me you are right. You should heed your own advice.

    Benj on, “not majority of Filipinos share your selfish, self-centered perspectives. Those of us who prefer to stay in the Phil find comfort and satisfaction being in our native land helping the economically disadvantaged fellow Filipinos”.

    I heard the same nationalistic zeal from our closest friends many years ago. And they too, left. We just had a happy reunion. Benj, please save your opinion when by lucky chance you will have a visa.

    grd on, “dOdOng if you find corruption and incompetence in your adopted country.”

    True. But I already mentioned that there is huge difference (in benefits) one can feel of paying taxes in America versus paying taxes in Philippines.

  35. d0d0ng

    grd on, “i think people like you are not really needed in the country”.

    Yes, I am not much of a help to Phil gov’t officials who are filling their personal pockets. How can Arroyo have extra entourage of congressmen shopping (say Nograles in Las Vegas) in the US while the country is in disaster.

  36. Bencard

    dodong, just re-read your comments. you were the one who said “professional skills are valued and rewarded with citizenship (and) hence, cannot be deported”. i didn’t. now, whose sense of logic is “amazing”? never mind, enough already – this inane discussion is pointless.

  37. anthony scalia

    grd, bencard

    magkababayan na ba ngayon sina dodong at benigno?

  38. grd

    anthony, magkapitbahay ata.

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